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202          MY    COUNTRY   AND    MY    PEOPLE

observed that the Chinese government d la Confucius with its
tremendous moralizing has always been one of the most corrupt
the world has ever seen. The reason is not that Chinese
officials are any more corrupt than Western ones. The plain,
inexorable political and historical truth is that when you
treat officials like gentlemen, as we have been doing in China,
one-tenth of them will be gentlemen and nine-tenths of them
will turn out to be crooks; but when you treat them like crooks,
with prisons and threats of prisons, as they do in the West,
considerably less than one-tenth succeed in being crooks and
fully nine-tenths of them succeed in pretending that they are
gentlemen. As a result, you have at least the semblance of a
clean government. That semblance is worth having. That is
what China should have done long ago, and that was Han-
feitse's advice two thousand years ago, before he was made to
quaff poison.

What China needs, then, is not more morals but more
prisons for politicians. It is futile to talk of establishing a clean
and irreproachable government when unclean and reproach-
able officials can safely book a first-class berth for Yokohama
or Seattle. What China needs is neither benevolence, nor
righteousness, nor honour, but simple justice, or the courage to
shoot those officials who are neither benevolent, nor righteous,
nor honourable. The only way to keep the officials clean is to
threaten to shoot them when they are caught. Officials who
feel hurt at my legalist view of human nature should reflect
a little whether they would be willing to invest money'in a
stock company run strictly on the Confucian-gentlemanly
principle, with no stockholders' meeting, no accounting, no
auditing and no possibility of arresting an absconding
treasurer or manager. The Chinese government was run
strictly on such a gentlemanly basis. What improvements the
present government has made are due to the influence of
Westerners who have the audacity to ask for accounts from
their rulers, without being afraid of implying a slight on their
gentlemanly honour. But until that change is complete, the
Chinese government will always be like an unbusiness-like
company, always profitable for the manager and staff but
disheartening for the stockholders who are the common people.